Newman is a member of the art rock band, Wire. When the band temporarily split in 1980, Newman pursued a solo career. His first solo LP, A-Z, was released in 1980 on the Beggar's Banquet label. The album veered from extremely skewed pop to more mainstream numbers, such as "Order for Order", which was compared by some to Gary Numan. A track from the demos for this LP (but not included on the original vinyl release), "Not Me", was covered by This Mortal Coil on their It'll End In Tears LP.